By Mike Rowbottom

Steve Peters_25-10-12October 25 - Steve Peters, the renowned psychiatrist who has moulded the minds of Britain's all-conquering cyclists such as Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins over the past decade, insisted that he would merely be "one of the minions in the team" when he takes up his new role with UK Athletics.

He added that he would not be foisting any preconceived programmes on the sport, but would be waiting to respond to athletes who chose to seek his expertise, working in close coordination with the newly installed UK Athletics performance director Neil Black.

"The biggest positive for me is that Neil is the performance director," Peters (pictured top) said.

"I get on brilliantly with Neil – he is easygoing, flexible and decisive and in my opinion he has got the qualities of a successful leader."

Peters, who has worked on mental preparation with sportsmen as diverse as footballer Craig Bellamy and world snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan, said he had numerous offers for his services following the London 2012 Games, but added that he had "promoted" the offer from UK Athletics given his longstanding involvement in grass roots athletics through a career in Masters events which saw him break the 200 metres world record at Gateshead in 1999 with a time of 22.2sec recorded in his mid-40s.

Peters said he had not worked exclusively for British Cycling in recent years, having operated in canoeing and taekwondo.

He also explained that he had had a working relationship with the previous UK Athletics performance director, Charles van Commenee, and had individually assisted a number of track and field athletes.

Steve Peters_and_Dave_Brailsford_25-10-1Alongside British Cycling's performance director Dave Brailsford (R), Steve Peters (L) has worked with some of the sport's biggest successes, including Sir Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton and Bradley Wiggins

"I was joking with Dave Brailsford when I told him I was talking to UK Athletics that it almost felt like I was having an affair behind his back," Peters said.

"You feel almost as if you are married to an event, and it feels almost traitorous to the team.

"But I like to think I am always working for the British team.

"I wouldn't say I was coming home to athletics – I would say I'm coming into very familiar territory."

Peters, who will still works in a more concentrated form for British Cycling, said he was ready to work with athletes in every discipline and that, although he would be based at the High Performance Centre at Loughborough, he would be ready to travel anywhere in the United Kingdom to work with athletes whom he could help to realise their medal potential.

Asked about whether he might improve Britain's performance in the sprint relay, where the men have frequently failed to deliver the baton safely round the track in recent years, he responded that he might well be involved in such an area, but added: "It's not simply a case of saying, 'Here's five things to do' as if it was a recipe.

"If I was working with relay runners, I would need to get to know each individual and what was on his mind when he was about to deliver the baton.

"We would work together."

Steve Peters_25-10-121Steve Peters hinted that he might work to improve Britain's performance in the sprint relay

Peters, however, maintained: "There are rules, and you can't break the rules.

"If you do the consequences can be catastrophic."

By way of example, he envisaged two female hurdlers, one of whom said they never thought about their event before they went out to race, and the other who said they went through a routine of visualising their performance.

"In a technical event such as the hurdles you have got to focus on how you are going to go through it," he said.

"Some athletes want a mental strategy for warm-up but they don't know how to do it.

"But if you spend the warm-up visualising your performance in the event, the chances are that you will perform it in a computerised way."

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